Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.
Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa was evacuated for a bomb scare after a suspicious package was found on Monday evening, Nassau County police said.
A mall employee saw a 31-year-old woman acting incoherently, carrying two suitcases and a shopping bag leave the packages unattended near Sunrise Jewelers and walked away shortly before 6 p.m.
The mall was evacuated as a precaution after police officers took the unidentified incoherent woman into custody in another part of the mall and called in the Arson/Bomb Squad out of concern for the contents of the abandoned packages.
“Better safe than sorry,” said a Walmart employee who declined to give his name after watching the bomb squad robot in action on the east side of the mall on Sunrise Highway.
Police said the packages were determined not to be a threat around 8 p.m., when the mall was reopened.
Mall security referred calls to management, which was unavailable for comment Monday evening.
The woman was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Suffolk County police say the alleged hit-and-run driver who critically injured a teenager in West Islip on New Year’s Eve got help trying to cover up the crime from his passenger and girlfriend.
Kristofer Busching, 25, of North Babylon, was arrested Sunday along with his passenger, 19-year-old Carlo Caamano of Bay Shore, and girlfriend, 23-year-old Alicia Santamaria of Bay Shore, who police said wasn’t in the car at the time of the crash.
Police said Busching was driving a Chrysler 300 northbound on Udall Road when he hit the victim at 10:26 p.m. Dec. 31. Police found the victim unconscious lying in the road after witnesses reported seeing the suspect’s vehicle flee the scene.
Busching, Caamano and Santamaria were charged with conspiracy. Busching was additionally charged with assault, leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury. Caamano and Santamaria are also facing charges of hindering prosecution. Caamano and Busching were charged with criminal mischief and petit larceny as well.
All three are scheduled to be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip.
The victim remains in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.
A 20-year-old man died after the car he was driving crashed into two houses in his hometown of North Amityville on Saturday night, seriously injuring his teenage passenger.
Suffolk County police said Roger Castro was driving his Pontiac Bonneville southbound on Great Neck Road when he lost control of the car, drove off the road, hit a vacant house and then crashed into a second house with residents inside at 8:35 p.m.
Castro was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 15-year-old Edwin Cruz of North Amityville, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital where he is listed in serious condition.
One of the residents in the occupied house was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment of minor injuries.
A Town of Babylon building inspector inspected both houses and the vehicle was impounded for a safety check.
First Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this crash to call them at 631-854-8152.
Jury selection started Thursday in the trial of a former high-ranking Nassau County police official accused of conspiring to cover up a school burglary as a favor to a police benefactor.
Mark Cohen, the Suffolk County judge presiding over the case against ex-second deputy commissioner William Flanagan, said the trial is expected to conclude in mid-February, barring any setbacks.
Flanagan and two other former high-ranking police officials, deputy chief of patrol John Hunter and Alan Sharpe, deputy commander of the Seventh Precinct, have denied accusations of scuttling an investigation into a Merrick man who stole more than $10,000 worth of electronics from Bellmore’s John F. Kennedy High School in 2009.
Zachary Parker, the son of a prominent police benefactor, last year admitted to the burglary, violated his probation and was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison. Parker and his father have not been charged in connection with the alleged cover up.
In the Flanagan case, nearly 100 prospective jurors—many forced to stand—packed the Nassau County courtroom and were asked if health, business, vacation obligations, language difficulties or other responsibilities would preclude them from serving.
Students and those caring for children or the elderly were released with little or no contest. But those claiming business obligations were met with more scrutiny by the judge, prosecutors and defense counsel.
The judge went over the case with possible jurors and advised them not to speculate why Sharpe, Hunter and Flangan are scheduled to be tried separately. The jury selection process is expected to continue into next week.
Before the jurors were ushered in, Cohen discussed procedural issues in the upcoming trial, including an amendment to the original indictment and acknowledging that he received the prosecutors’ witness list.
Cohen was appointed in March after two previous Nassau judges recused themselves. One of the two, Judge John Kase, announced this week his retirement and return to the criminal defense law firm he founded.
Flangan, Sharpe and Hunter were indicted following a Press expose into benefits given to those who have donated money to a Nassau police nonprofit foundation that is building a new police academy at Nassau Community College.
The program offers assistance with temporarily restoring electricity, heat and hot water to damaged homes while permanent repair work continues. The goal is to get displaced residents back in their homes quickly.
Residents seeking assistance through the Nassau County STEP Program should dial 1-888-684-4267. Suffolk residents can apply by calling 211.
New York State police are crediting forensic technological advancements and sticktoitiveness for solving a murder investigation after 28 years this week.
Troopers arrested Raed Innab, 46, and charged him with second-degree murder for the Aug. 21, 1984 stabbing death of 32-year-old Darwish Ali Darwish, who had been convicted of killing the suspect’s uncle.
Both men were from Brooklyn. Darwish was found suffering from stab wounds along Hecksher State Parkway in East Islip and later died at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.
Darwish, a married and the father of three children, had just been released after serving a 7-year prison term for first-degree manslaughter in the death of Carl Innab.
Darwish was free on bail following his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service officials on an illegal residency charge shortly after his release from prison.
Authorities had been received an anonymous telephone call warning that Darwish would be killed by a member of Innab’s family before Darwish was convicted in 1976, according to a report in The New York Times from the time.
Investigators ask anyone who may have information regarding this investigation to contact the New York State Police Major Crimes Unit at 631-756-3390.